We are working to ensure that all children in this nation have the opportunity to pursue higher education and to fully capitalize on their talents, aspirations, and leadership to have fulfilling careers and create a better world.
Our approach is unique in that we sponsor cohorts of students in under-resourced public schools or housing developments, and work with these "Dreamers" from early elementary school all the way through high school. Upon high school graduation, each Dreamer receives guaranteed tuition assistance for higher education.
While each "I Have A Dream" program is localized to meet the specific needs of its Dreamers, all of our programs share common elements and take two basic forms, school-based and housing-based . There are several factors that make "I Have A Dream" unique .
Currently, more than 2,600 Dreamers are on the way to college in 12 states and Washington, D.C., following some 12,000 Dreamers who came before them.
THE CHILDREN WE SERVE
We work closely with school and community leaders to identify the schools or housing developments where we will have the greatest impact. Our students typically attend schools where at least 75% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Most of our Dreamers are members of historically underserved racial and ethnic groups, and they are generally the first in their family to attend college.
Each cohort of Dreamers is an entire grade level in a single elementary school or a whole age group in a single public housing development, generally including 50 to 100 children. We do not pick either the "cream of the crop" or those children perceived to be most "at-risk." Instead, we offer the same opportunities to every child in the selected group, and we do whatever it takes to get each child to college.
We operate with a "whatever it takes" approach to ensure our Dreamers' success. As a result, the support we provide evolves as our Dreamers progress towards college, but we stay consistently focused on six core strategies that, together, form our program framework:
Foster the expectation of college;
Ensure academic readiness;
Cultivate Dreamers' ongoing leadership:
Empower Dreamers and their families;
Ensure financial access; and
Create a context conducive to success.
STARTING AN "I HAVE A DREAM" PROGRAM
For more information about starting a new "I Have A Dream" program please visit our Sponsor page.